You may have heard the term gaslighting before but didn’t understand what it meant.
The term originates in the systematic psychological manipulation of a woman by her husband in Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 stage play Gas Light and the film adaptations released in 1940 and 1944.
In the story, the husband attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements in their environment and insisting that she is mistaken, misremembering things, or delusional when she points out these changes. The play’s title alludes to how the abusive husband slowly dims the gas lights in their home each evening while pretending nothing has changed to make his wife doubt her own perceptions. The wife repeatedly asks her husband to confirm that the lights are dimmer, but in defiance of reality, he keeps insisting that the lights are the same and that she must be going insane.
Today, we are living in a perpetual state of gaslighting. The reality is that what the media tell us is at complete odds with what we see with our own eyes. When we question the false reality being presented by the elite and the media, a fiction that is often is contradicted by what we see on video clips, and in the real world, we are vilified as deniers, racists, or bigots, or crazy and ill-informed.
You’re not racist. You’re not crazy…You’re being gaslighted.
Here are ten examples prevalent in today’s politically-correct world:
- Year after year, we see winter arriving on schedule, snow falling on much of the continent, just as we experienced growing up in the northern states and Canada. But we are told that we’re in a period of dangerous global warming. If we question that narrative, we are called anti-science climate change deniers.
Similarly, we see how inaccurate daily weather forecasts are and doubt scientists’ ability to forecast climate decades in advance meaningfully. That, too, elicits the charge that we are equivalent to Holocaust deniers.
So, we ask ourselves, am I a crazy, evil person? No, you’re being gaslighted.
- We know that the Sun is often hidden behind a cloud and that about half the day is dark, but the media and the elites tell us that we can power the nation on solar power. Similarly, we know those windless periods can last several days at a time, but we are assured that wind turbines can power America. If we disagree with these narratives, we are accused of being anti-environmental.
So, we ask ourselves, am I a naïve, anti-environmentalist? No, you’re being gaslighted.
- New York State has the highest death rate in the United States from COVID-19, and the state has accounted for 10% of all COVID-19 deaths in America. But we are told that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has handled the pandemic better than any other governor (given awards for his book about his response to COVID-19).
If we support governors’ policies whose states have only a fraction of the infections and deaths as New York, we’re called anti-science, ill-informed, and obviously want people to die.
So, we ask ourselves, am I an uncaring, stupid person? No, you’re being gaslighted.
- We see that COVID-19 started in China and spread across the world because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forbid its doctors from publicizing the disease, instead of allowing its citizens to carry the virus abroad, even while severely restricting movement between Chinese cities.
Yet, if we point out the origins of the disease and call it the China Virus, or even the CCP Virus, we are called racist.
So, we ask ourselves, am I racist? No, you’re being gaslighted.
- When we see violent mobs looting stores, smashing windows, setting cars on fire, assaulting fellow citizens, and burning down buildings (including police stations, Federal Court Houses, and toppling memorial statues), we are told that these demonstrations are “mostly peaceful,” protected protests. And when we call this destruction of our cities “RIOTS,” we are called racists, fascists, Nazis, and worse.
So, we ask ourselves, am I a fascist bigot? No, you’re being gaslighted.
- We see that the major problem destroying many inner-cities is violent crimes, murder, gang violence, drug dealing, shootings, and armed robbery, but we are told that it is not “crime.”
We are told that the police are the problem in the inner-cities. We are told we must defund the police and remove law enforcement from crime-riddled cities to make them safer and fairer! And if we advocate for more policing in cities overrun by violent crime, we are accused of being racists.
So, we ask ourselves, am I a racist? No, you’re being gaslighted.
- The United States of America accepts more immigrants than any other country in the world. The vast majority of the immigrants are ‘people of color,’ and these immigrants enjoy the freedom and economic opportunity not available to them in their countries of origin. But we are told that the United States is the most racist and oppressive country on the planet, and if we disagree, we are called racist and xenophobic.
So, we ask ourselves, am I xenophobic? No, you’re being gaslighted.
- Capitalist countries are the most prosperous nations in the world. We see that in capitalist countries, more poor people move up the economic ladder to the middle class through their own hard work and abilities than in any other economic system in the world. Yet, we are told capitalism is an oppressive system designed to keep people down.
So, we ask ourselves, am I naive? No, you’re being gaslighted.
Communist and socialist countries killed over 100 million of their own people in the 20th century (China, Soviet Union, Cambodia, Nazi Germany). This does not include deaths in two World Wars. Communist/socialist countries strip away basic civil/human rights and dictate every aspect of their citizens’ lives while treating their citizens as slaves. Yet, we are told that communism/socialism is the fairest, most equitable, freest, and most prosperous economic system globally. We know it is a lie, and these systems would counter the basic civil rights guaranteed in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
So, we ask ourselves, am I a simpleton? No, you’re being gaslighted.
- You spend your life trying to be a good person, trying to treat people fairly and with respect. You disavow racism and bigotry in all its forms…color, gender, gender preference, ethnicity, religion, etc. You judge people solely on the content of their character and the merits of their efforts. But you are told you are a racist, not because of something you did or said, but solely because of your skin color.
You know instinctively that charging someone with racism because of their skin color is itself racist. You know that you are not racist, so you defend yourself and your character, but you are told that your defense of yourself is proof of your racism.
So, we ask ourselves, am I really racist? No, you’re being gaslighted.
- We recognize that Donald Trump accomplished many important things while president and that the evidence of election fraud is overwhelming. Yet, we are told that if we say anything positive about Trump or question the election results, we are extreme right-wing conspiracy theorists. ‘Nothing here folks, move along,’ we are instructed.
So, we ask ourselves, are we really crazy extremists? No, you’re being gaslighted.
Gaslighting has become one of the most pervasive and destructive tactics in American politics. It is the exact opposite of what our political system was meant to be. It deals in lies and psychological coercion, not fact-based reality and certainly not intellectual discourse.
So, trust yourself, believe what’s in your heart. Trust your eyes over what you are told.
Never listen to the people who tell you that you are crazy because you are not. You’re being gaslighted.
NOTE: For this article, we are indebted to two people, a play-write, Patrick Hamilton, author of the 1938 play titled Gas Light, and Eugene O’Neil, not the Nobel Laureate play-write but an MD in Colorado who brought the play to our attention and contributed to this article.